I know I said that my next blog post would be about finding your new book 'gem', but then a gem just popped into my letterbox and I had to rave over it first!!
Do You Remember is a new book from my publisher, Wombat Books. Written by Kelly O'Gara and Anna McNeil and divinely illustrated by Kelly as well, it is about a grandchild mouse coming to terms with grandmother mouse's developing dementia.
This book would be a perfect precursor to When I See Grandma, for children and families struggling to understand the changes that dementia brings.
At the beginning of the book the child mouse asks grandmother mouse 'Do you remember...?' times spent together. When odd things start to happen with Grandma, the book then pivots on what I found the most poignant page - the child mouse looking out pleadingly as Grandmother has forgotten even the child - and "Everything was changing." The child mouse then becomes the keeper of the memories - new memories and old. She paints the old memories over the hillside, keeping them alive, and makes new ones visiting Grandma even when it is painful. The book ends perfectly - like a kiss.
I found it interesting that Kelly used the motif of the dandelion on the cover and throughout the book, giving a folkloric suggestion of love, or wishes. (The dandelion features in my book too!) The pages are full colour with a luminous glow, using mostly sunset-pastel and earthy, natural tones in a woodland setting. The words and pictures combine artfully to imbue the rodents with appealing character - reminiscent of The Tale of Despereaux.
A few pages of easy, child-friendly information about dementia follow the end of the story, still attractively echoing the illustration style, plus a note to parents at the end.
Do You Remember is a delightful, warm book written and illustrated with great sensitivity and understanding.
Wombat Books is offering a book package of When I See Grandma ($19.99) and Do You Remember ($24.99) for the special price of $40 postage included.
Next time - how to find other gems!